It’s hard to say when the Karel Zeman Museum in Prague is busier: during the school year or the summer months. The museum, dedicated to the work of visionary Czech filmmaker Karel Zeman who created legendary children’s films like Journey to the Beginning of Time, was only opened less than two years ago but has become a major attraction.
The 40th Uherské Hradiště summer film school starts Friday with thousands of film fans expected and more than 200 short and full length films being screened. Some of the stars making appearance will be US independent film director and script writer Todd Solondz, who has won prizes at the Sundance Film Festival and Cannes Film Festival. The main guest is British director Peter Greenaway. Spanish films are one of the main themes of the summer school this year.
Some of the best Czech films of the 1960s and 70s, such as Markéta Lazarová, Shop on Main Street, and The Cremator, have one thing in common, besides the country of origin: the author of the score, Zdeněk Liška. Only a few recordings of his music came out independently; most recently, the British label Finders Keepers published his soundtrack of The Little Mermaid. In this edition of Panorama, we look the life and work of this prolific composer, and one of the most versatile artists in the field.
Georgian filmmaker George Ovashvili’s Corn Island won the main prize
–the Crystal Globe Award - at the 49th Karlovy Vary International Film
Festival on Saturday night. The psychological drama is the story of an old
peasant who transmits the wisdom of life to his granddaughter and reflects
on the importance of harmony between man and nature. The winning film was
made in coproduction with Germany, France, the Czech Republic and
The audience's prize went to a Czech entry - Olga Sommerova's documentary film The Magic Voice of a Rebel, which tells the life story of singer and dissident Marta Kubišová.
The Best Actress award went to Ella Fanning for her performance in Low Down, a U.S. film directed by Jeff Preiss and Nahuel Perez Biscayart picked up the Best Actor award for his role in All Yours, a Belgian-Canadian movie directed by David Lambert.
The jury's special prize went to Hungarian film maker Goergy Palfi for Free Fall. The main prize in the East of the West category went to Ivan Tverdovsky’s Corrections Class, a Russian-German co-production.
The 49th Karlovy Vary International Film Festival is to end with a gala closing awards ceremony on Saturday evening. Two Czech films are in the running for the main prize: Andrea Sedláčková’s Fair Paly and Miroslav Krobot’s Nowhere in Moravia. The festival screened over 200 films including seven international premieres, two Czech premieres and, for the first time ever, an animated film. It will close with a screening of Damián Szifrón’s Wild Tales. For the first time ever the closing film and the closing gala ceremony of the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival will be shown live in cinemas around the Czech Republic.
Czech film actor, scriptwriter, director, and writer Zdeněk Svěrák ws awarded the president’s prize at the International Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Thursday for his lifetime contribution to cinema. The 78-year-old Czech, who won an Oscar in 1996 for the film Kolya in which he starred and directed, was given a standing ovation at the presentation in the spa town. Svěrák, whose films often contain a large dose of humour, said laughter was the main reward for his work.
Last year was a good one for the Czech film industry. The turnover of Czech-based film production companies grew by 23 percent, from over four billion crowns in 2012 to more than five billion, according to figures released on Monday by the country’s Audiovisual Producers’ Association. The growth was mainly fuelled by foreign co-productions.
Film production turnover in the Czech Republic rose last year by more than 20 percent from just over 4 billion crowns to over 5 billion, according to the Audiovisual Producers’ Association. The association highlighted an 82 percent jump to just over 2.8 billion in the production companies turnover related to foreign film shoots. One of the reasons for the surge in business was the increase in 2013 in the budget for incentives for foreign film productions from 300 million to 500 million crowns. The government has decided to boost the budget for next year to 800 million crowns. The association also pointed out the shrinking budget spent by advertisers with one of the problems higher fees on the main Czech commercial television channels.
The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival continues on its second day with the spotlight perhaps on the world premiere screening of the director’s cut of Andrzej Wajda’s film ‘Walesa: Man of Hope’. The version of the film will be screened in the presence of former Polish dissident and leader of the Gdansk shipyard strikes that helped to topple the Communist regime, Lech Walesa. As well as the former Polish president the lead actors of the film will also be present. Later on Sunday, French actor and director Fanny Ardent will present her latest film ‘Obsessive Rhythms.’
Gibson’s star guest status at Karlovy Vary has been attacked by Jewish groups in the Czech Republic who highlighted past comments deemed to be anti-Semitic. In an interview at the festival’s launch, Gibson said he had tried to deal with those complaints and dismissed them as ‘just noise.’ The head of the Jewish Community, Petr Papoušek, in a letter to the festival’s organising committee accused Gibson of propagating xenophobic and anti-Jewish sentiments and regretted the film festival had invited him as its star guest. Gibson was criticized for his depiction of Jews in the film, The Passion of the Christ, which he directed and was also caught on tape in an anti-Semitic rant in 2006.
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